Barrie, opioid

Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy Meeting Summary – January 7, 2020



Meeting requested to discuss questions raised by Councillor N Harris regarding progress on SMOS Action Plan.


Mayor Jeff Lehman

Councillor Natalie Harris

Detective Inspector Jim Walker – Deputy Director, Central Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, OPP; Co-lead SMOS Enforcement pillar

Meredith Fryia – Manager, Addiction Services and Back on Track Program, Canadian Mental Health Association, Simcoe County Branch; Lead, SMOS Treatment pillar

Brian Irving – Manager, Addiction Services and North Simcoe Muskoka RAAM Services, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre; Member, SMOS Treatment pillar

Janice Greco – Manager, Substance Use and Injury Prevention Program, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; Member, SMOS Harm Reduction pillar

Mia Brown – Public Health Nurse, Substance Use and Injury Prevention Program, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; Lead, SMOS Harm Reduction pillar

Claudia Swoboda-Geen – Public Health Nurse, Substance Use and Injury Prevention Program, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; Co-Lead, SMOS Prevention pillar

Dr. Charles Gardner – Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Dr. Lisa Simon – Associate Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; Co-Chair, SMOS Steering Committee

Action items: (* Bolded items added by N Harris for clarification)

  1. Prevention pillar to consider attending open ALANON meetings to connect with family and friends of those with addiction or who have died from addiction. (Suggested by Councillor N Harris).
  2. Treatment pillar, including RVH rep, to consider further needs and effective and sustainable avenues for shifting clinical practice in treating opioid use disorder in the ED and primary care.  To follow up on this with Dr. Gardner, Mayor Lehman, and Dr. Simon, and consider pursuing possibilities discussed (as follows) or other ideas:
  3. Dr. Gardner approaching local physician leaders he knows to enquire with them on their understanding of the opioid crisis and the possible treatment barriers that could be addressed, and solutions that could be pursued to achieve optimal patient care. (Meeting with Dr. Martin, RVH and Councillor N Harris being arranged).
  4. Mayor Lehman and Dr Gardner to consider approaching the medical leadership within the Healthy Barrie initiative for this same purpose.
  5. Mayor Lehman to consider a supportive role for the Connected Core program.
  6. Dr. Simon to connect Treatment pillar with existing avenues to connect with physicians (NSM LHIN Primary Care Network, and ED leads).
  7. Consider opportunities for NSM LHIN hospitals to share with each other on effective practices, learnings, etc. (Suggested by Councillor N Harris).
  8. Harm Reduction pillar and Dr. Simon to determine plan for continued discussion with hospitals regarding barriers to instituting take-home naloxone from EDs. Consider overlap with Treatment pillar avenues in #2. (Suggested by Councillor N Harris).
  9. Councillor Harris to follow up with SMOS anti-stigma lead to discuss her new anti-stigma call-to-action for the community, if her article for the Huffington Post on this issue isn’t published. (Action initiated and follow-up meeting scheduled).
  10. Opportunities for Councillor N Harris – both as Councillor and as a person with lived experience – to be a resource for SMOS:
  11. SMOS recommends that N Harris join the pillar(s) of her choosing, for contribution to decision making, implementation, and ongoing discussion, as that is the avenue that has been established to coordinate the wide range of stakeholders participating in this work.


  1. Follow up discussion on action items from this Jan 7 meeting:
  2. Councillor Harris is welcome to reach out to SMOS steering committee members if additional questions arise.
  3. Upcoming SMOS communications to City Council: SMOS is initiating a quarterly newsletter (Jan/Feb 2020, and on), SMOS 2019 update (spring 2020), Continuing SCS Advisory committee communications, BDAP meeting highlights, to a limited email list (more are welcome to be added), and SMOS to send memo for today’s meeting to City Council.



–       From Detective Inspector Jim Walker: Overview of intentions for SMOS-Statistics Canada Data Project, and Summary report from similar past project in Surrey BC

–       From Dr Gardner: Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2019 – Addressing Stigma: Towards a More Inclusive Health System

Thank you,

Lisa Simon, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC

Associate Medical Officer of Health

t: 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520  x: 7244 f: 705-721-1495 e:

 Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, 15 Sperling Dr, Barrie, ON  L4M 6K9


Further coordinated efforts are occurring at this time to enhance treatment options in Barrie. Stay tuned for updates.

Barrie, opioid

I Am Not A “Coddled Junkie”. Nor Is Anyone. Allow Me To Explain Why.

I got an email today about my recent article in the Barrie Advance. I would like to share this email and my response for educational purposes. Thank you.

When will you people realize that coddling these junkies doesn’t work?
They don’t want help. They are homeless by choice.
There are thousands of OW and ODSP recipients who get free perscriptions of opiates then turn around and sell these pills for thousands of dollars a month.
1 oxy 80 sells for $80.
At 160 pills that’s $12800.00 a month.
These people have all day every day to manipulate the system and get free drugs.
This happens every day in Barrie.
When, are you people going to open your eyes and address the real problem???
You all blow smoke out of your asses but not one of you has the balls to address the real problem.
I invite anyone of you useless city workers to sit on my porch any day of the week and watch this go on.
For once it would be nice to see real action.
I look forward to a reply with a real solution.
So far your words are completely meaningless.
We aren’t interested in your nonsense.
We are interested in a real solution.

My reply:

Thank you for your email. Question: Do you follow my website? ( If you do, thank you, but you may have missed this post from a few weeks ago:

And this post:

And this post as well:

I almost forgot this post:

Oops…and this one:

I also found this one:

Here is a link to the Connected Core Barrie as well:

I am here if you have any questions about these posts. But I will not reply to comments that state I am, “coddling junkies”. Or that we are “useless city employees”.

I appreciate the invitation, but I don’t need to sit on your porch to know the effect addiction has on individuals. I saw it first hand behind the scenes, in the living rooms, in the alleys, in the business offices, and in the homes of individuals bringing in every level of income as a paramedic for eleven years.

I’ve held the hands of the dying and heard parents scream in pain. I’ve brought people back from the brink of death with needles in their arms and their children standing by watching. I’ve seen the despair of loved ones who don’t understand the grip of addiction. I’ve hugged children who will be taken into CAS’ custody… after I had to call CAS myself.

I am also a recovering addict myself. And if you don’t mind, I prefer to be called this rather than a, “coddled useless city employee”.

Furthermore, the mayor and I are actively working together to get addiction treatment brought to Barrie. A lot of things are happening behind the scenes to address this crisis. It’s just not public yet.

So now may I ask you a question? What are YOU doing to help with this? I would genuinely like to know. And welcome any constructive feedback.


Natalie Harris

Ward 6 City Councillor

His reply:

Spoken like an entitled addict. Let’s see, I’ve been woken up to the sound of random gunshots, 7 to be exact. Witnessed a man stabbed to death over his portion of the dope. Watched and reported multiple drug deals that resulted in a slap on the wrist. Spoken to multiple police officers who’s hands are tied repeatedly arresting the same people over and over again. I’ve been robbed. I’ve been assaulted. My home and multiple vehicles have been vandalized. I use the word “useless “ because it is fitting. Nobody forced you to be a paramedic. What you experienced is part of the job. I have worked right beside you and seen my share of death and destruction. So, I will say again, coddling these junkies is not solving the problem. Is parking an ambulance permanently at the Busby Centre the solution? No. Is cracking down on the suppliers a solution?  It’s funny, thousands of people get these drugs from their doctors. They don’t need them. They know the street value. You want to throw millions of dollars at this problem. But not one of you will actually deal with the root cause of this problem. Which brings me right back to the useless part. So your reply, is exactly what I expected. None of you are doing anything but creating a whole new industry.

As to the law abiding citizen, who pay the taxes to support you and this industry, I guess that’s your new job? To take away our rights to live in peace? Your right, their rights are more important than ours?

Thank you for not helping with this problem.

So as it seems, this person did not take the time to click on the links I provided where all of his questions are answered. I always value the perspectives of every individual; we all have different views which are important to consider. But when we don’t take the time to at least consider education that is provided to us, there comes a time when an email chain must cease. I wish this individual well. And if he ever finds himself in need of support as an addict himself, or caring for one in his family one day, I will be here for him.

Barrie, opioid

Core Community Baseball Game

We had such a great day playing baseball with community members who are battling addiction. With varying lengths of sobriety and clean time, individuals played against local police, fire fighters and paramedics. It was all about unity and bringing the community together! I was the “coach” (I use that term lightly!) of the core community team and we won 8-1! This will hopefully be an annual event.